Category Archives: Machinima News

Riot Gear and Some Questions

I’ve decided I’m going to start updating this blogernator a bit more. But as we don’t have many updates, I figured I could use it to answer some questions. So from here on out, feel free to ask away in the comments, and I’ll do my best. If you’re an aspiring content creator, I’d love for this to be a place where you can get some advice from some guys who have been there and back and have the scars and torn up contracts to prove it.

Our first round of answers:

1) We still got lots of questions about Season 3 of Leet World. This kind of surprises me, because as much as I know people loved the show, it has in fact been over for 2 years. People have done some pretty cool things on the Internet since then, and I highly recommend checking some of them out. Such as this nifty Portal 2 machinima. The writing’s not fantastic, but I’m impressed with what they pulled off, technically speaking. And there’s always Red Vs Blue, which has gone into a stratosphere that no other machinima creators can hope to touch.

2) If you ask us if you can be the one to continue Leet World, my answer will always be that nobody can stop you from doing what you want, but you’re not going to get our blessing. I’d encourage you to make your own thing, in your own way. Because I’m tyrannical like that.

3) All of us have recently rewatched The Leet World for the first time in a very, very long time, and I’ve got to say… I’m still baffled we did it. There’s a lot of technical stuff going on in a lot of those scenes that a lot of effort went into, and in some ways nobody can ever truly appreciate it but us. Weird to think that we pulled it off with all of the hurtles we had to overcome.

4) Not to make light of a serious situation, But I think Player is ready for the London riots. Seriously though, stay safe out there you guys.


Fantastic Fest Plus Rocking with the Producer

ProducerHowdy and hello.

Thanks to everyone for all of the birthday wishes you gave us. It’s great that so many of you are still around from the earliest days. Also fairly flattering. A special thank you to all the lurkers that came out of hiding to utter a few words of gratitude. Another weird anniversary is coming right on the heels of that one: next week marks a year since TLW ended.

In terms of news, the main thing I have to offer is for those of you who live in Texas. Next weekend, a cool thing called Fantastic Fest will be going down in Austin. It’s a huge genre film festival, and from what I hear, it’s pretty rad. Anyway, Rooster Teeth organized themselves a machinima panel, and they invited one of us to sit in on it. Since Daniel won the fist fight (it’s the gangly arms), he gets to be on the panel with some other machinima dudes.

If you are anywhere nearby, the Best of Machinima screening will happen on Saturday, September 25 at 4 PM at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. They’ll be showing Day in the Life of a Turret. Stop by and troll Daniel.

Also, because I’m nice, here’s a free download of the Producer theme from the TLW soundtrack. Figured since the anniversary of his death is coming up and all, it only made sense. This is probably my favorite track on the whole thing. Enjoy!

Right click and save as to download.

In other news, did anyone get Halo: Reach? I’m loving it. Also, check out the new GamerSushi. Loving that, too.

The Question of What’s Next

Question blockMan, it’s been quiet around here lately, eh? Since Web Zeroes ended a few weeks ago, the wheels have been turning a bit slow around the SFF wagon, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped altogether. The biggest and most frequently asked question that we’ve seen in the last month or so has been: what’s next? I wanted to answer for that you guys as best as I could so you know that we haven’t hitched a ride on dragons out of the country or something.

The short of it is this: we’re not quite sure what’s next. That’s not for a lack of ideas at all. In fact, we actually have a surplus of them. The tricky part is narrowing it down, which will only come with time to weight out their pros and cons, and also time to chill out a bit. For real, we’re just starting to get used to having our weekends back for the first time in several years, and we’re going to enjoy that for a bit before we throw ourselves onto the content skillet again. It is a hot and buttery place. OK, that metaphor got kind of weird.

Anyway, the only thing I can really tell you is this. Our next ideas aren’t exactly small potatoes. They’re big. Orca fat, I guess you could say. Up until now, we’ve done everything without a budget and without a huge supply of time. Everything has been quick, free and dirty. The last episode of Web Zeroes is something we were able to throw a bunch of time at, and I think the effort really shows. As a result, we’re going to make sure that whatever we do next we tackle with both time and money. Just think: if we’ve pulled off the stuff we’ve done so far without a budget or ample time, it’s tough to imagine what we could do with just a little of both. Or a lot of both, which would be preferable.

And no, these do not include TLW. In conjunction with wanting to do our next project with the aforementioned time and money, we also want to be able to own it. TLW is the opposite of that, as we’ve discussed on many a fine occasion.

So, stay tuned. I promise more info is coming, along with regular updates. Some things that we’re hoping to have on the docket in the next few weeks include more lost TLW factoids, some Web Zeroes features and other cool things I can’t say just yet. In the meantime, check out GamerSushi, where we’ve got cool gaming news and podcasts.

In other machinima news, have you seen this Gears of War 3 trailer created by a variety of producers including The Duo Group, Treadster Media, Kootra and Sound Wizardry. I love it.

Discuss, gents.

Things To Watch

We are ever plodding away at filming the last two episodes of the second season, and boy are we feeling it. Getting through any season of material is tough work, and by the time you’re at the end of it, it almost seems like it will never end. Lucky for us, this isn’t our first rodeo, so we are wrangling and breaking this thing like a Hungarian Halfbred in Red Dead Redemption. Maybe I should have prefaced that last sentence with “nerd alert”. Oh well, too late.

Anyway, over the last week or so, I’ve seen a couple of cool things I wanted to share here. The first of these is from a machinima series we’ve linked to before, called Forecast. Their first season ranks as some of my favorite Halo work, so that’s why I’m excited about the trailer for Forecast season 2, which you should watch.

In addition, BlackwatchFilms has mocked up a pretty cool thing that we’ve taken a liking to lately. He mashed up Web Zeroes clips with the intro theme of the Office, which works surprisingly well together. As a long time fan of the show, it’s awesome to see, and he did a good job with the right cilps.

Web Zeroes Season 2 Launch Date

Hello friends, dudes and trolls. I thought I would give an update about the status of Season 2 of Web Zeroes. Last we spoke, I said we didn’t have an official release date nailed down yet, but we finally locked it up. The Season 2 premiere is going to release on Wednesday, March 24th. We’re pretty excited about this, and we hope you guys are, too.

There will be a brief hiatus on production as we go out of town this weekend to hang out in Austin for South By Southwest. We’ll be attending the live DiggNation filming on Saturday night at Stubb’s, so if any of you guys live in Austin, are of age and want to drop by, please do.

In other news, I saw this pretty slick Modern Warfare 2 machinima, created by YouTube user Michael Barnes. He’s done some Call of Duty 4 stuff as well as GTA 4 stuff, so I’d definitely recommend checking out the rest of his work as well. Anywho, give it a watch.

The Problem With Machinima

MachinimaLast year, as many of you know, we announced the end of the Leet World. At the time, we cited several reasons, one of them being our confirmation that Valve was not interested in machinima in the slightest. While we couldn’t go into the details of how we knew this to be true, it seems that another machinima studio has done so.

Pixel Eyes Productions are the creators of the well known Shelf Life machinima, using the Source engine. Recently, they’ve gone through some of the same issues we had in terms of trying to monetize their (hour intensive) hobby, and came up with similar results. We just assumed not talk about the problems we had, but it seems they have done so. This includes their issues with trying to become YouTube sponsors, where they were denied, just like us, since they don’t own the rights to the Source machinima they produced. Naturally, Valve owns those.

More interestingly than the YouTube dilemma, though, was that they (like us) pursued the securing of these rights from Valve, via a commercial machinima license of some kind. And, they have posted the official response. Which, just as we insisted all those many months ago, was simply that Valve is not interested in machinima.

If you don’t feel like clicking on the link, here’s the short of Valve’s response.

We are not interested in licensing our technology or IP for machinima. This includes providing copyright approvals.

I have to say, I really feel for Pixel Eyes, having been in their shoes just last year. If you are a young filmmaker trying to use Valve’s excellent Source tools, they have essentially shut the door with statements just like that. While I don’t blame Valve for trying to protect their property in the slightest, it certainly is a shame to see them take such a hard line stance when it comes to something their community produces so readily and in many cases excellently.

To me, it’s stances like these that will keep machinima in kind of a stale flux for many years to come. What you are starting to see is that the more talented individuals get snatched out of making machinima and onto other things, because machinima runs into more dead ends than it does opportunities. While it’s a nice low-budget way to practice something you love doing, making money off of it is often times the exception and not the rule. And this extends beyond machinima even, to any kind of derivative content.

My advice for any hobbyists out there that like to dabble in machinima or other forms of derivative content (fan fiction, stories based on popular games or movies, comic strips that do the same, etc) is that if you want to do this stuff for a living, don’t spend all your time on something you don’t own. By all means, practice your craft with machinima and use it to gain a fanbase, but let that be only a supplement to a project that you own completely, and let that be where you sink most of your time into.

Trust me, in the long run, it’ll be worth it. You don’t want to spend years of your life working on something only to be told that it doesn’t really belong to you in the end. Sure, you gained lots of experience and you had fun doing what you loved, but if you can do all that and then use it to pay the bills, it’s a double bonus. And believe me, if you’re good, somebody somewhere will want to pay for what it is that you’re kicking ass on.

So go out there and make it happen.

Closing In

Sorry we haven’t been updating much. Quite frankly, there’s not much to say. We’re on a much needed break right now and we’ve sworn off everything but fun things until Season 2 of Web Zeroes starts back up. Which is next week. Craziness, really.

In the meantime, I’ve been anticipating Mass Effect 2 something fierce while enjoying Borderlands, Left 4 Dead 2 and Modern Warfare 2. Seriously, Mass Effect 2 might derail Web Zeroes in at least some small way, seeing as how all of us are completely obsessed with it. If we end up delaying the show, you can blame Bioware.

Speaking of Bioware, I saw this hilarious Dragon Age DLC machinima video that highlights some things people have done in the mod community. Looking forward to more of what people do with that game. Who knows, maybe I’ll try my own hand at the toolset.

I’d also like to thank you guys for all of your votes for the Streamys. It really means a lot to us. Hopefully we can get our silly show nominated for something. Next week we plan to start posting some photos from what’s going on with Season 2 of Web Zeroes, and hopefully some other content. If nothing else, expect some cool changes and more regular posts to start very soon.

EDIT: It seems that Game Informer is reporting that Half-Life 2 Episode 3 won’t be out in 2010. Ouch.

A Kindly Reminder to Vote

The deadline for the Streamy Award nominations is rapidly approaching. Faster than the hair grows on Nick’s face, even. Terrifying, right? Well don’t let the fear paralyze you, stand up and vote for Web Zeroes. The deadline is this Friday, January 15th, and you can vote every single day until then. Every vote counts, and we seriously appreciate the support. If you’ve forgotten, I put up a voting guide for Web Zeroes so you guys can help us out.

Writing has officially begun on Web Zeroes, Season 2. We had an awesome planning session recently and I must say, this season gets meta as all hell. I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully you guys are, too.

In other news, we are considering picking up the podcast-ing again. You guys should submit some topics you’d like to hear us discuss or things you’re curious about in our world of content creation. Maybe we’ll talk about them. Or not. Either way, let us know!

Also, I’m not sure how many of you have seen the Source filmmaker tests that have been leaked from the TF2 beta. From what I hear, it could really change the way Source machinima is done. It eliminates the need for actors and renders some pretty cool effects in real-time. That sure would have been helpful a few years ago, Valve, but maybe it’ll see the light of day at some point. I doubt it, but folks can dream, can’t they? Anyway, here’s a cool Team Fortress 2 test I saw the other day:

Happy Late New Year

Figured I should take a few moments and wish all you dudes around the world a happy new year. It’s more than a tad strange to be in 2010. This is the decade when we need to start seeing real live robots, flying cars and video phones I’m thinking. Either that or Half-Life 2 Episode 3. Just saying.

In the Smooth Few Films neck-of-the-woods, things have been awesome. We’re taking a few weeks off of production since we’ve been working like crazy people since early 2009. So far, it’s been cool to see the great reviews pouring in from the finale. We were more than a little excited to reveal that Rooster Teeth played a guest part in the final episode of Season 1 of Web Zeroes, so I hope you all enjoyed that present as much as we enjoyed providing it.

We’ve already had a planning meeting for Season 2, and I honestly can’t wait to start writing it. We’ll be filming towards the end of January and will start building a foundation of lulz upon which the new season will stand.

In other news, one of my favorite machinima teams, TheDuoGroup, released a pretty cool Assassin’s Creed original animation that they created called Initiation. I highly recommend watching it if you’re finding yourselves parched for cool video game content since the end of The Leet World.

More content coming soon. Some of it Leet World related, some of it Web Zeroes related. Also, stay tuned for some posts that will be going up over the next few weeks informing you how you can help us out. You guys are awesome fans and we know you jump at the chance to support us. That being said, we want to go grassroots style on the promotion for Season 2 of Web Zeroes. We’ll let you know more when we know more.